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Doug Thurmond named state's top wrestling coach
In his first year at the helm, Jefferson
head wrestling coach Doug Thurmond was named Georgia's best by
Thurmond, who had previously led the Johnson Knights' wrestling
team before returning to his alma mater, was recently named Coach
of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches' Association, according
to Dacula head coach and state NWCA representative Paul White.
3-1 Region 8-AAA start for Diamond Panthers
The Jackson County Panthers will face region opponents Stephens
County, Madison County, Eastside and Hart County this week as
they near the midway point of the 2001 region schedule.
The Panthers were to host Stephens County today, but the game
has been rescheduled for Monday at 5:30 p.m. A twice-postponed
game at Madison County will be played Thursday at 6 p.m.
Eastside hosts Jackson County Friday at 6 p.m., and Hart County
comes to Jefferson Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Neighboorhood News ..
Guest settles for $10,000, approval of original plat
Developer James Guest will get $10,000 and approval of his original
plans for a development on Double Branch Road.
Guest settled a lawsuit with the Madison County commissioners
in February and the details of the settlement were released Tuesday.
Guest filed the suit in 1999, claiming the commissioners violated
Guest's due process and equal protection rights by illegally
thwarting his plans for an 11-home development on 60 acres on
Double Branch Road.
Sewage expansion in Danielsville?
Leaders discuss possibility but voice concerns over costs.
Danielsville leaders are looking at expanding sewer services
into the southern section of the city.
High-speed chase ends in Banks County
A response to a domestic dispute at Holiday Marina in Buford
led to a high- speed car chase ending with a van crashing into
an embankment on I-85 in Banks County last Wednesday.
Hall County deputies were called to Holiday Marina in Buford
for a domestic dispute, according to Captain Ed Barfield of the
Hall County Sheriff's Office.
County planners vote to deny rezoning for day care
Plans to bring a day care center to Banks County hit a roadblock
last week. The Banks County Planning Commission recommended denial
of the rezoning of 2.2 acres at the intersection of Highway 51
South and Welborn Road for the project when it met Wednesday,
The Jackson Herald
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COUNTY ON CRUSADE
Howard Wooldridge of Texas passed through Jackson
County last week as part of a crusade to legalize marijuana.
He started his journey in Savannah and plans to end it near Portland,
Ore., or Fort Worth, Texas. He said his trip, on horse, is to
realize a dream and to bring attention to the issue. He travels
approximately 23 miles each day and has five more months to go.
BOC may decide
rezoning for NJ landfill April 16
Opponents pack room, call for denial of permit. North Jackson
residents opposed to a proposed construction and demolition (C&D)
landfill on Lanier Road packed the Jackson County Board of Commissioners
meeting Monday night to speak against the project.
Earth Resources has requested a conditional use permit to locate
the landfill on 94.84 acres on Lanier Road that is zoned I-2.
The BOC will consider taking action on the request when it meets
at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 16, in the Administrative Building
This is the third time in recent years that the county government
has dealt with controversial landfill proposals. In the mid-1990s,
the county waged a contentious fight against a proposed landfill
in Arcade. Last year, the county fought a proposed landfill in
West Jackson, eventually denying developers a rezoning for the
landfill site. A lawsuit has been filed in that matter and a
hearing is scheduled for later this month.
In a surprising move Monday night, commissioner Emil Beshara
recused himself from the matter and left the table for the one-hour
discussion. The proposed landfill would be located in Beshara's
district and the commissioner has been an outspoken critic of
Attorney Robert Lovett, representing Earth Resources, said the
developer had purchased additional property so that the entrance
would be on Brooks Road instead of Lanier Road. He also said
that C&D landfills are needed in counties such as Jackson
which have a high growth rate. C&D landfills take in construction
waste form building sites.
"This county had 1,000 building permit applications last
year," he said. "...This county grew at a rate of 38
to 40 percent in one decade. Anticipated growth will be at least
that or more over the next decade."
The attorney also pointed out that the property is already zoned
industrial and permitted uses would include an aircraft factory,
chemical plant, distillery, feed mill and livestock processing
yard. He added that the development is a $3.5 million project.
Lovett told the BOC that there are "generalized fears"
about the landfill, but that state law says decisions can't be
based on that. He said the applicant meets all legal requirements
and has conducted numerous tests on the site, including soil
and geology. He added that other landfills in the state have
not experienced odor or other hazardous problems.
Jolee Blankenship responded to the remarks by saying that Earth
Resources would probably resell the site.
"More than likely, Earth Resources won't be our neighbor
if this project goes through, " she said. "Owner Sonny
Dinsmore typically builds and develops landfills. He doesn't
run them. He sells them, usually to Waste Management, the world's
largest garbage collector. I assure you, no one on our street
will be asking this 'good neighbor' for a cup of sugar or offer
to help jump off a dump truck."
She also commented on remarks that Lovett made that there are
no documented cases of contamination from C&D landfills in
Georgia. She said that there are nine landfills on the state's
hazardous site inventory list. Shelly Casper said that landfills
and homes don't belong together.
"The Jackson County land use plan calls for our area to
be mid-density residential," she said. "If you approve
this permit, you have violated the plan. Approval of this plan
also means you have violated county zoning codes since they require
heavy industrial to be located on major streets. Brooks Road,
Mountain Creek Church Road and Lanier Road are not major streets."
Art Blankenship, who said he has appraised residential real estate
for 18 years, said the landfill would impact property values
in the area.
"Site considerations and nuisances are an integral part
of all appraisals," he said. "Excessive noise or hazards
from heavy traffic, proximity to dumps, landfills and industrial
sites are all conditions which would kill many conventional loans
and all FHA insured loans. The reason for this is that these
conditions constitute external obsolescence, or loss of value,
resulting in detrimental impact to the marketability of properties.
Marketing time for properties increase and time is money."
Jimmy Nash, who owns 200 acres adjacent to the site, said he
is concerned that any runoff from the landfill would go into
his creek. He added that he is also concerned about seeing a
"mountain of trash" on the property.
Pendergrass Mayor Monk Tolbert said that the city doesn't approve
of the request and that five acres of the property is within
one-half mile of the city limits. He said state law requires
that municipalities within that range be notified of any zoning
"The city has not been asked for its approval of this landfill
to be put on this property," he said. "If or when asked,
we will not grant approval."
Tolbert went on to say that if this request is denied and goes
to the court with the county being required to approve it, the
county should try to get as much money as possible from the developers.
Tolbert also asked that a condition be put on Earth Resources
that they must reimburse all land owners for any financial losses
they may incur due to the landfill.
Lovett responded to many of the concerns aired by residents,
including that there would be odors. He said that construction
and demolition landfills do not have odors. He also said that
some of the photographs submitted by the citizens are of municipal
solid waste landfills and not construction and demolition landfills.
As for the nine landfills on the hazardous site list, the attorney
said that they were shut down for non-compliance and many were
opened before current regulations were in place and were grandfathered
He also answered questions from the commissioners on the operation,
which he said would be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays
through Fridays and half a day on Saturdays. He said the capacity
would be four million tons of trash and it would be filled over
a 15-year period.
City School Board
Prepared To Name
New Second-In-Command On Monday
The Commerce Board of Education expects
to name a new second-in-command at its regular meeting Monday
The board will meet at 7:00 in the Commerce High School Media
Center, where it is expected to vote on a recommendation from
Superinten-dent Larry White on someone to fill the role of assistant
The board will hold a called and closed-to-the-public meeting
Sunday afternoon at 2:00 to meet with three final applicants
for the position, said superintendent Larry White.
That meeting will be held in the conference room at BJC Medical
Center and will be in lieu of the regularly scheduled work session,
which would have been this Thursday, but which was canceled because
of spring break.
According to White, 35 people submitted either résumés
or applications for the job, which will pay between $70,000 and
$80,000, depending on the education level of the person chosen.
"I have chosen (from the applicants) the people I want to
interview, and I have chosen the top three candidates,"
said White. "I want the board to meet them and to be able
to ask them questions."
White will make the recommendation on the finalist to the board,
which is expected to vote on that recommendation Monday night.
The position became vacant last month when the board moved longtime
assistant superintendent Dr. Dennis McWilliams to the position
of lead teacher and director for an alternative school to be
housed at CHS in cooperation with the Jefferson and Banks County
school systems. McWilliams will retain his salary, said by White
to be in the "upper 70s."
The position was advertised on the Department of Education's
Internet site, and notices were sent to the local Regional Educational
Services Agency (RESA) and to all area school systems, according
Also on the agenda for Monday night's meeting are approval of
the 2002 salary increases (4.5 percent), the local teacher supplement
schedule, the administrative salary schedule, an update on the
CHS renovation project and approval of personnel for the upcoming
plant in Center draws opposition
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will take action at
its April 16 meeting on a request from a developer to locate
a steel processing plant in Center. The meeting will be held
at 7 p.m. in the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
Tim Brooks and Randall Kersey have requested that the 30 acres
be rezoned from A-2 (agricultural rural farm district) to I-2
(heavy industrial district) with a conditional use permit.
The rezoning would clear the way for H.P. Steel to construct
a 50,000-square-foot building between the new Hwy. 441 route
and the Norfolk-Southern Railway. Eventually, the company plans
to expand the building to 150,000 square feet. The company would
ship in coils of steel in covered rail cars from mills in the
north and cut the steel to specifications for customers in the
automotive, building and home appliance and electronics industries.
Realtor Kim Beauchamp spoke on the company's plans and said the
industry would have no air emissions and would be a "clean,
non-polluting" business. She said the main reason the company
wanted the Center location is the railroad frontage.
A number of nearby residents urged the BOC to reject the rezoning,
which had been recommended for approval by the planning commission.
Robert Farmer, who lives on Ed Bennett Road in Center, presented
a petition with the signatures of more than 450 people who are
in opposition to the rezoning. He said the county land use plan
does not call for this area to be zoned as industrial. He said
it calls for industrial developments to be located along I-85
or major thoroughfares.
"This is a clear case of spot zoning," he said. "It
is a mile and half to two miles from this site before any industrial
use zoning. It would be very inappropriate to zone an industrial
area in the center of an agricultural, residential area."
Angeline Scarborough, Center, said she is concerned that approval
of the rezoning would open up the area as an industrial corridor.
Bob Herrin, Center, reminded the BOC of problems another industry
brought to the area and said another industry is not needed.
"About 15 years ago, another industry came to our community
promising that they were going to be quiet and be good neighbors,"
he said. "...Louisiana Pacific proved to be just the opposite
and it took the federal government and one of the largest fines
in history to help them clean up...It took several of us in the
neighborhood taking them to federal court...We don't need another
industry in that area."
Several other residents near the site also spoke out against
it, citing the likelihood that its approval would make it easier
for other industries to be located in the area and expressing
concerns over traffic safety on Hwy. 441.
The planning commission earlier recommended approval of the request
with the following conditions: there be no outside storage, that
all loading and unloading be done inside, that a buffer plan
be created and that the Department of Transportation approve
all entrances and exits and Norfolk-Southern approve all grade
crossings affecting the plant.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
Votes Down Zoning Ordinance NICHOLSON
-- In the end, there was no impassioned debate, no public outcry.
The issue of zoning went quietly, without so much as a comment
from its proponents or opponents in a 3-2 vote that included
the expected tie-breaker from Mayor Ronnie Maxwell.
It took council woman Margaret Ward longer to read her motion
to approve the town's zoning ordinance than it did for the council
to consider and reject the motion in a rare roll-call vote.
Ward's motion traced the history of the push toward zoning back
to May 4, 1999, and followed it through more than a year of discussions,
culminating in the motion "to protect the integrity of development
in the city and to provide for orderly growth."
Maxwell asked for comments; there were none.
Councilman Thomas Gary seconded the motion, after which Maxwell
called for a roll-call vote. Gary, then Ward supported the motion.
Newly installed councilmen Chuck Wheeler and Billy Kitchens opposed
"The vote is tied," Maxwell observed. "The chair
votes no. Motion denied."
That was the only significant development in a 14-minute meeting
that followed the installation by Magistrate Judge Billy Chandler
of Kitchens and Wheeler, winners of seats on the council in the
March 20 special election.
Thirteen citizens witnessed the events.
In other business, the council authorized Maxwell to visit the
state surplus depot in Atlanta to look for office furniture,
for which he may spend up to $2,000, approved a bid from Puckett's
Doors to replace for $806 the overhead door on the city shop
and named Maxwell and Wheeler to a committee to meet with the
Nicholson Water Association over the handling of invoices for
payment with special purpose local option sales tax funds.
'86 zoning ordinance
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners readopted its zoning
ordinance and tax maps Monday night. The move was apparently
related to a pending lawsuit over the county's zoning codes,
which were adopted in 1986.
County attorney Daniel Haygood said the action includes several
amendments, including penalties for those in violation of the
ordinance and cleaning up several "typos" in the document.
The action is effective immediately and it repeals any other
county ordinances in conflict with the new document. The BOC
interrupted the work session to have a "public hearing"
on the issue, but no one in the audience commented on it. No
further explanation was given at Monday's meeting and Haygood
said Tuesday that he can't comment further on the action due
The county has been sued by a firm seeking a rezoning to locate
a landfill in the West Jackson area. A court hearing has been
set for April 27.
in Jackson County Superior Court on the rezoning issue.
'No' to name on Banks County flag
The Maysville City Council voted unanimously Monday night to
request the city's name be taken off the county flag proposed
by the Banks County Board of Commissioners.
City attorney Gary Freeman suggested the council take steps to
protect the city from possible conflicts.
"If any of you have been reading The Banks County News,
you know that Banks County has gotten itself in the middle of
a controversy over the flag," said Freeman.
He told the council the proposed flag has six stars with the
name of each city below it.
"I don't believe any of the cities have been consulted on
this," he said.
Since some had not seen the flag, a copy of The Banks County
News with a picture of the flag was presented to the council
Freeman said, "Homer's been concerned enough about boycotts
and demonstrations that they have asked me to prepare a demonstration/parade
ordinance," he said.
He said that the Homer council is thinking about having its name
removed as well and that the issue would be up for vote at its
"The question is, does the city of Maysville want its name
on that flag?" he asked.
He also asked whether or not the council wanted him to prepare
a demonstration ordinance as well, "in case we have problems."
Councilman Scott Harper said more of Maysville's residents live
in Jackson County and saw no reason to get involved.
Council member Andrew Strickland reminded Harper and the council
that the majority of the registered voters reside in Banks County.
Strickland said, "I'd leave it off." He made the motion
to leave Maysville's name off the flag and Marion Jarrett seconded
it. The vote was unanimous.
Mayor Richard Presley said, "The city of Maysville wishes
not to participate or have the town's name on the county flag."
Freeman agreed to draft the letter to the BOC and present it
to the council for signing.
BOE reviews site
plan for East Jackson Elementary
A proposed site plan for the East Jackson Elementary School was
unofficially presented at last week's called meeting of the Jackson
County Board of Education.
The proposal also includes long-term plans for an East Jackson
High School, as well as a number of athletic fields. The developments
will be located at the corner of Water Works Road and Hoods Mill
Road, near East Jackson Middle School.
Officials said the plan was not yet ready for an official recommendation.
Superinten-dent Andy Byers indicated the elementary school might
be in operation by 2003.
Board members also considered a request by several South Jackson
Elementary parents to allow all students from South Jackson the
option of attending either East or West Jackson Middle Schools.
Byers indicated that the larger student body at West Jackson
(approximately 700, compared to East Jackson's 600) might make
the request feasible. No action was taken during the called meeting.
The board also approved contracts for the 2002-03 school year
For related stories, see this weeks Jackson Herald.